Home (Repair) for the Holidays

A malfunctioning, water-spouting "box" in the basement leads to fantasies of an alternate existence where I put on my tool belt and get to work, rather than running upstairs to call my husband.

The other day I went down to the basement to do some laundry and found water shooting out of a box on the wall; it was pooling all over the floor. I stared at it in shock and then quickly shut the door and ran upstairs to put in an SOS call to my husband at work. His assistant said he was on a conference call and would be unavailable for the next hour. I was officially stumped.

My experience with home repair is so woeful I wasn’t even sure how to describe what was happening let alone who (other than my husband) to call to fix it; the idea of trying to fix it myself is about as unlikely as me offering to put together the latest Ikea purchase that inevitably arrives in about 100 pieces. I went back downstairs and unplugged something near the water-spouting box. I have no idea what the plug was for but figured it couldn’t hurt to unplug it (??!). The water actually stopped so I assumed I did the right thing. I mopped up the water on the floor, went upstairs and waited for my husband to call me back.

As I was waiting, it occurred to me that there was this alternate existence available to me where I didn’t have to be a helpless damsel in distress who waits for her husband to come and rescue her when something like this goes wrong. I like to think of myself as a progressive, strong woman but somehow I have taken on a stereotypical role where I manage the cooking, cleaning and childcare, and my husband takes care of the house repairs, landscaping and car maintenance. This division of labor generally works for us, and there are only so many hours in a day, but I’d love it if I could be a little more empowered when it comes to the inner workings of our home. When my husband got home (and discovered the water was again shooting out of the “box” and all over the floor) he made it pretty clear that he would enthusiastically support any endeavor that had to do with me being a little more capable in the home repair department.

This was when I had my brilliant idea. Every year I rack my brain trying to come up with a Christmas gift for my husband. This year I will sign up for the Adult School’s Do it Yourself Home Repair class that begins on March 5 and this will be my Christmas gift to him. It’s a win win situation for the Cook family.

P.S. Apparently the malfunctioning box was the humidifier that is attached to our furnace. I would give further details but as my husband was explaining what had happened my eyes glazed over and I started planning this blog entry. I promise to pay more attention in class.


The South-Orange Maplewood Adult School’s spring catalog will be in your mailboxes soon. Our online catalog is now available at www.somadultschool.org and registration is open for spring classes.

Like us on Facebook for all the latest class information and specials.

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